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Bloomies' vet Gribetz to kick off 7th Context

NEW YORK — Lester Gribetz, Bloomingdale's vp of home furnishing fashion direction, will open Home Textiles Today's seventh annual Context conference this week at the Four Seasons Resort in Palm Beach, FL.

As keynoter, Gribetz will speak on the afternoon of Wednesday, June 8, sharing his vision of the most vital trends in home furnishings retailing.

Exclusive Kurt Salmon research will examine the shift of home textiles manufacturing to a global business and offer paradigms for success in the future. Topics to be reviewed in the presentation by KSA principal Mac Ryland will include production costs on a country-by-country basis, the potential implications of the shift, including the impact on merchandising theory, ownership of inventories, and trend vs. planned style migration.

Afterward, a panel of manufacturing executives will discuss issues raised by the global nature of textiles manufacturing. Panelists will include Dale Talbert, vp, Veratex; Eric Vergucht, executive vp, Terrisol; Jeff Meadows, division vp, Shaw Rugs; and Bill Heitman, executive vp, sales and marketing, Davidson Cotton Company.

The three-day conference will round out with a panel of non-conventional retailers discussing out-of-the-box thinking — both figuratively and literally — as well as the key influences they see at work in the market. Panelists will include Anita Iodice, president, The Company Store; Allen Josephson, vp, merchandising, House2Home; Ken Locicero, senior vp, home merchandising, The Home Shopping Network; and Dekor merchant Terry Handelman.

Economist Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors and former chief economist for First Union, will close the conference with a forecast of what lies ahead and the potential implications for the home textiles industry. In addition to his appearances on "The World News Tonight with Peter Jennings," "The News Hour with Jim Lehrer," CNBC and his frequent comments to national news radio networks including CBS, CNN, Bloomberg and Wall Street Radio, Naroff is a member of the prestigious Blue Chip, Business Week, USA Today/CNBC and Survey of Professional Forecasters panels.

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